At the drive through at a local fast food restaurant there is a sign asking customers to please use exact change or a credit or debit card to pay for their order, due to ‘the nationwide shortage of coins’.

KGVO reached out to Scott Burke, President and CEO of Missoula’s First Security Bank for an explanation.

Burke said the U.S. Federal Reserve is limiting the amount of coins being distributed to banks all over the country.

The Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury are currently not operating due to the COVID 19 pandemic, and because of that they’re not making any coins. Because of that, they are limiting what banks are able to order on a weekly basis.

“There are so many crazy things going on right now, but this is a simple one,” said Burke. “The Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury are currently not operating due to the COVID 19 pandemic, and because of that they’re not making any coins. Because of that, they are limiting what banks are able to order on a weekly basis, so that’s simply what’s going on.”

Burke said there is plenty of paper money in circulation, however he has no idea when the U.S. Mint will begin producing more quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.

“I don’t have any indication at this point,” he said. “The other part of it is that people are holding on their cash and coins and keeping it out of the system. At this point, I have no indication as to when they’ll start printing money again.”

Burke said now would be a good time to take those jars filled with coins to your local bank and trade them in for cash.

“The lobbies are closed, but all our drive-throughs are open, however, you can access any of our lobbies if you just call for an appointment,” he said. “That’s the way it works; we’ll just deposit the amount in your personal account.”

Attached, find the memo to all banks from the U.S. Federal Reserve.